The reliability of the Genesis Flood account

Ursa Major will stay pretty intact as constellations go (i.e., it will look reasonably similar in 100,000 years), because all of the bright stars except the end of the tail and one of the stars in the neck were a cluster a few hundreds of millions of years ago, so they are moving similarly around the galaxy.

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So a retired homicide detective is better educated than thousands of Ph.D. geologists in their field?


What does the video have to do with the flood? Or where is that part?

I think what J. Warner Wallace is doing is reading things into the text that aren’t there. Basically he has the assumption that the Bible has secret modern science in it. He then found a list of common things people argue are advanced scientific revelation and then adds a quote from some scientist to make it sound more academic. Interestingly enough people do the same thing as an apologetic in Islam or certain Hindu sects (i.e. hey look our ancient book seems to be describing something that matches what we now know to be true from modern science- therefore was divinely inspired).

It’s interesting the sorts of things he doesn’t say. Like how the Bible is a thoroughly geocentric book. One of the famous verses that talks about the so called hydrological cycle is in Ecclesiastes 1:7. Yet v4 makes a demonstrably untrue statement if the text is supposed to be describing modern science (the Earth will not last forever) and v5 is also wrong in that it says the sun revolves around the Earth if it is supposed to be describing modern science. Basically passages like these help highlight that people like Wallace or Muslim apologists who do the same are just cherry picking verses and cherry picking something in modern science to “prove” the text was divinely inspired by a deity.


So true. Eventually all this does is undermine the true divine nature of Bible. We don’t need to ‘prove’ the Bible is a modern scientific textbook for it be divine, neither does it’s lack of modern science disprove a divine authorship.

Sigh… a case of (undoubtedly) good motives, but deployed incorrectly (in my humble opinion).


What is the true divine nature of [the] Bible? Where is it true and divine?

Taking no risk of repeating myself :slightly_smiling_face:, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says it well (while not ignoring textual criticism):

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Well I went to the 10 minute mark and he was talking about Amos 9:6. Problem is he left out the first half of the verse. In total it says

He claims this describes the hydrological cycle, but it doesn’t. and it also says there is a dome over the earth which we all know is false. So based on this single fact check I wouldn’t waste any more time watching the video. This is a prime example of cherry picking a scripture to match your belief.


Did he justify Mosaic authorship of the pentateuch or just assume it?

I am not following.

The Bible mentions rocks.
Rocks are real.
Therefore the Bible is accurate when it mentions other things?

This reasoning is about as fallacious as it gets. That one book of the Christian canon gets things right is no guarantee that another gets things right as well. And a flat farther could actually possess some good science about some scientific topics despite being a quack when it comes to the shape and structure of the earth.

The Bible fails and fails time and time gain to possess supernatural knowledge about scientific details of the world. It shows a human face time and time again in this regard and many others. 1 Corinthians 14-16 is as clear as it gets. It is why a famous apologist had to create a whole encyclopedia of Bible difficulties or why evangelicals need something so precise and meticulous as the Chicago statement, or a much better belief in divine accommodation.

It would be great if the Bible fell from heaven and gave all of us supernatural knowledge and infallible theology in every verse. All available evidence seems to indicate this is not how God chose to inspire the Bible. The flood story is based on older mythological flood stories in the area. Moses, if he existed at all, most certainly did not write the Pentateuch. Scripture’s authority lies in its ability to mediate the sacred, serve God’s intended purpose and spread the Gospel.

The Bible got it right.

It is the Discovery Institute and such ilk which got it wrong.

The Bible never describes the earth as a planet or globe. So when the Bible talks of a flood over the whole earth there is no reason to think it is speaking of a flood over the whole planet. In fact the Bible speaks of the earth as a table with four corners – which describes a small section of the planet. So if you really take the Bible at its word rather than altering it to fit anti-science rhetoric, then this is flood over a table shaped section of the planet – a local flood indeed. And collecting the animals in a small area like that to put on a boat might actually make sense whereas collecting animals from all over the planet to put on a boat makes no sense whatsoever.

Oh yes, the Bible got it right.

But the anti-science crowd definitely got it wrong.

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The key points I took from the video and Job:

We are reading ‘arguably’ the oldest historical scriptures, some 4000 years old.

Here we have a very wide range of natural topics from behaviour of cosmos, to ocean depths to details of animals etc. They are aimed to be relevant to Job (not a modern scientist). They are descriptive insights that broadely stack up with todays knowledge.

Who, if not ‘God’ could reasonably have written/presented such an array of insight?

How, in those days, where star/sun worship was the norm, could some ‘other’ human not only have such a wealth of knowledge, but also present it within the context and narrative of the book of Job?

If such a person was about, he/she would surely be incredibly well known?

I found this a good right up:

To quote a quote from it in summary…

. . . Jehovah asks the patriarch a series of questions about the mystery, power, and beneficence of the universe. The queries are designed to show how very little man knows about the things of God’s world. Though the language style is poetic, it is amazing how scientifically precise it is as we are able to compare our modern knowledge with the information of this portion of scripture. We are forced to say, however, that even though our knowledge has increased tremendously since the days of Job, we are far from fathoming the great mysteries posed there.

I understand Jim the sit with OEC btw. I like his stuff as he uses an evidence based approach, combined with deductive reasoning. I suspect scientifically minded folk would relate well to his work…?

Well I think God wrote them. But that is my subjective impression only. There is certainly no way to prove this to others. Certainly many people have no problem whatsoever with thinking people wrote this. Why such different impressions? People understand what is written quite differently – they don’t have to understand it as Wallace has, not even when they are Christian.

For the most part, science found much more interesting questions to ask, which the Bible doesn’t speak about at all.

Other people are more interested in questions about football or music. Just because you think these question or “mysteries” are so great doesn’t mean that other people have to… even if they are Christian frankly.

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Shave at least 1400 years off that as the oral folk tale was written down with rich embellishment during the Exile at the earliest.

Who if not ‘God’? Any of the pre-Socratic philosophers; Democritus gave us atoms just by thinking about it a century or two later. Anaximander, of course, gave us evolution at the same time as the unknown exiled Hebrew genius and friends gave us ‘Job’, or even a century earlier. Further Eastern philosophy than ‘Job’ was deeply embedded in India - Gautama Buddha - and China - Confucius. All of these stood on the shoulders of architectural, engineering, astronomical, cultural giants of prior centuries and millennia.

Not an old cop and the then 81 year old convert to deism Richard Flew and those in Warren’s mid-C20th Bible Belt echo chamber. They, Craig, Plantinga are not in the same county as McGrath, the only iron I’ve seen that sharpens Dawkins.

Anaximander, of course, gave us evolution at the same time as the unknown exiled Hebrew genius and friends gave us ‘Job’

Ok, appreciate your knowledge on early writngs. Just to confirm, are you saying Job was penned by an unknown, exiled Hebrew genius? Then, the mystery remains?

If this is true, again, I am saying they offer far greater insights over broad workings of the world than, well who? How can someone remain so unknown, and, provide such rich insights?

These insights in Job, are only secondary info to the main narrative going on. Why would an ‘unknown genius’ just throw around info like that - combined with poetic elements?

What other writings are truly within comparison?

I think you have offered a broad brush of characters, who may well of offered some solid theories & philosophy in certain areas. Do they really, resonably, stack up to bredth and depth found in Job 38 - 40?

At least as good. We have very little to no idea who wrote any of the OT. Who was ‘Daniel’ for example? Or ‘Jonah’? They are characters in stories of unknown authors. ‘Isaiah’ and the like were schools based on eponymous sources at best. Nearly 1/3rd of the Psalms have unknown authors. Moses himself is also pure myth, let alone the characters in ‘his’ books. What in Job 38-40 can only be explained as supernatural in 550 BCE and not merely literary use by sophisticated, observant men of the time, no more than their Greek, Chinese and Indian contemporaries?

Mid C20th Bible Belt ‘authorities’ and old cops are no substitute for a liberal studies degree.

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Ahh, I see Jim has explored/compared some of this too…

I think the title of his article is VERY important.

Why? What do disinterested academics say? Do they agree? Does he cite any in support?

PS and a sceptic is half way there, i.e. is a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt, agnostic, fence sitting, a “don’t know”, someone who doesn’t know their epistemology from their elbow. Science knows that there is no reliability in the Genesis Flood account as anything other than a remarkable paternalistic attempt to civilize, positively humanize God.

But Bonhoeffer’s hermeneutic () is worth way more, infinitely more.

On top of a liberal studies degree, aye.

You can have his hermeneutic and a comparable relationship to God without one.

He couldn’t. And his failed him. And sustained him to the end.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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